“Justice” is a funny thing
Unless I am misled
It acts like restitution
But it can’t bring back the dead
When lives are lost, it’s horrible;
There is no greater price
But Justice cannot pay it back—
Instead, it’s losing twice.

I know I’m not alone in this, but I get the feeling I am in a small minority. I can’t celebrate someone’s death. I hope last night’s news brings peace to those who have lost loved ones, and I hope (in vain, I suspect) that there will be a positive effect on peace, at least in the long term. But I can’t celebrate this death any more than the thousands of others connected to it, before, during, and after 9/11.

If (and it is a legitimate “if”, not a given) we hold Bin Laden responsible for the actions of our own troops and allies, by the logic that “he started it”, then we must look at how and why he came to be in the position to “start”. By the same “if”, our own actions supporting “Afghanistan’s Freedom Fighters” against the Soviets, and our actions in Afghanistan and elsewhere over the decades, are also causal strands in a grand web of interconnected influences.

Yes, he was very bad. Sadly, he’s not alone in that.

“Justice has been served.” What a strange phrase. I am far more concerned with preventing future loss, than in whatever justice means. Calling this justice allows us to paint ourselves as the good guys, and him as a bad guy. And yeah, I’ve been told that my view “lets him off the hook.” Well, no. He’s on the hook. His actions are not ignored. But if we want to prevent, rather than simply avenge, future actions, we must look at all involved. Including ourselves.

And self-examination is not something that leads to cheers, chants, and dancing in the streets. But it is something that might lead to peace.